With travel costs rising, travel budgets shrinking, it is not often that an industry event can pull in a large crowd. That, however, proved the case last week at the 3rd European Bioplastics Conference, held Nov. 5-6 in Berlin, Germany. The event seemed to prove that interest in these materials has not waned, as 22 exhibitors and about 300 attendees from 26 countries made the trip to learn more about these materials and to make contacts.
“The bioplastics market has already become a considerable market, both on a retail and on a resin level. I am convinced that the market will grow quickly and sustainably within the next few years”, stated Michael Stumpp, group VP at plastics supplier BASF.
During the event, a panel discussion dealt with the question of land use, and whether, with a growing global population and consequently rising need for more food, there is enough arable land to set aside just to raise crops for plastics and fuel. At this event, at least, the answer was that indeed there is no need to fear a competition for land; there is enough for both food production and other uses. Andreas Pilzecker of the European Commission, Directorate General Agriculture, staed there is no proof that biopolymers can be held responsible for higher prices of agricultural raw materials. Michael Carus, director of Germany’s nova institute, said only 0.05% of the European agricultural land is used to produce crops for bioplastics.